Joy as two patriarchates of Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Church unite

Sources close to the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Church say the Holy Synods in Ethiopia and the United States reached agreement to unite which may mean that Abune Merkorios could return home soon after over two decades.

Abune Kewustos
Bishop Abune Kewustos, member of delegates from Ethiopia, during a sermon at St. Gabriel church in Washington DC

July 23,2018

As the era of repression seems to come to an end paving way for reconciliation and unity, Ethiopians thank the leadership of Prime minister Abiy Ahmed for it, rightly, Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Church patriarchates based in the United States and Ethiopia are uniting, according to sources close the church.

The news brought about joy and celebration among the laity.

No official statement yet from the patriarchates and much is not known regarding administrative arrangement.

Members of the delegation from the patriarchate in Ethiopia attended a mass together with bishops from the Holy Synod in the US at St. Gabriel Church in Washington DC yesterday.

What is known certainly at this point is that an agreement has been reached which means that there will no longer be two patriarchates hereafter. The two holy synods will unite to form a single one which was the case for millennia before TPLF took control of power in Addis Ababa in 1991.

According to Ethiopian Satellite Television (ESAT) report, the fourth patriarch Abune Merkorios who fled Ethiopia in 1992 due to pressure from the government is to be reinstated as the patriarch of a United Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Church. Other sources say the current patriarch in Ethiopia, Abune Mathias, will oversee administrative matters.

If the news is true, Abune Merkorios is expected to return to Ethiopia after 26 years and there is a speculation that he might actually return along with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed who is visiting the United States next week.

The church was divided for the last twenty-seven years, not on grounds of theology but due to, essentially, the late Meles Zenawi’s government policy to reduce the church to a mere political servant of TPLF political programs. And it is not a coincidence that the church is uniting at a time when the power and influence of TPLF over Ethiopia is dying.

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